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Publishing archival materials

Once materials have been preserved, publishing them means preparing and adding them to the Archive’s website.

In view of the very advanced age of most of our interviewees, and of the endangered nature of many collections – as people move on or pass away, much material is simply thrown away – it has been a race against time to collect what we have. In other words, we have focused on preserving material at risk.

This means that we have a backlog of preserved material to work through. In addition to continuing to preserve new material, we are steadily adding the material that we have collected over the past four years. It will all be published in due course. If a collection that you lent us for preservation has not appeared yet, this is the reason. We ask for your patience.

The process of publication is time consuming. For example, after an interview has been recorded, we transcribe it and then the transcription must be reviewed. Thereafter, descriptive metadata and tags must be added to it. For a one-hour recorded interview, at least another 16 hours are required to publish it.

Similarly, each item in a digitised collection must be cropped, rotated and watermarked. Hand written documents are transcribed. Descriptive metadata and tags are added at item level, before each one is published.

Our Archive is highly unusual in providing description at item or even page level, which we believe is a great aid to users. Those who are very knowledgeable about the bombing war will notice immediately that descriptions of items are mainly based on information gathered from the item itself (for example, ‘two aircrew standing in front of a Halifax bomber’) and not from extended research. Our main mission is to make resources accessible and discoverable; for this reason, too, we have avoided slang, acronyms and technicalities.

Further, we have depended on varying levels of expertise. We decided that due to the huge number of items to prepare for publication, it would be unrealistic to expect volunteers and staff members to spend time on research. It would be better to describe items as accurately as possible, based on existing knowledge, recognised principles of cultural heritage description and IBCC Digital Archive guidelines.

We would welcome your help in providing more detailed information about an item. Please do contact us. This Archive is, and will be for years to come, a work in progress and we value your assistance in improving its quality.  You may also be able to help by transcribing a document that does not yet have a transcription. Let us know.

Very often there have been items in a collection that we have preserved but are unable to publish. This is because such items are governed by pre-existing copyright. Examples include printed pamphlets, books and newspapers.

If there is an item on this site which you believe should not have been published, please contact us with details of the item and your reason. Our take-down policy will come into force: visit the legal page for more information.